AUSTIN, Texas (October 3, 2016) —After more than a decade of some negative attention, Applied Food Sciences, Inc. (AFS), along with other industry experts, are setting the record straight about the safety and eﬃcacy of Kava. During SupplySide West Expo October 4-8, AFS is set to debut its newest oﬀering, KAVOA™ kava extract, a safe and eﬀective ingredient for sleep support, relaxation and stress relief.
“Kava [kava-kava or piper methysticum] is an herb with a long ethnobotanical history in Polynesia, and it produces clinically-documented anti-anxiety beneﬁts,” said Mark Blumenthal, American Botanical Council’s (ABC) founder and executive director — Applied Food Sciences is the newest contributor to ABC’s Adopt-an-Herb Program with its adoption of kava. “ABC is deeply grateful to Applied Food Sciences for its adoption of kava on the HerbMedPro database, which will allow ABC to stay current with emerging research on kava’s beneﬁts and new information that helps to clarify prior concerns about its relative safety.”
With its long history of use and the growing body of evidence on the benefits of kava, why any concern for its safety?
Over the last two years Applied Food Sciences has taken a deeper dive into kava by analyzing prior published criticisms about the use of this herb. Creating relationships with local South Paciﬁc Island kava growers and evaluating methods for growing, harvesting, processing and analyzing kava, AFS identiﬁes the main reasons for safety concerns with kava. These concerns are associated with ﬁve key areas of production:
1. Use of Non-Noble or incorrect chemotype cultivars(s).
2. Unstandardized harvesting practices (yielding byproduct contamination to the kava before processing).
3. Use of the incorrect parts of the plant, namely the peelings and stems (instead of the root and rhizome).
4. Inadequate methods of manufacturing for producing standardized extracts (low quality,
5. Lack of scientiﬁcally validated methods for measurement of actives (kavalactones and chalcones).
“Working together with farmers, researchers, and agronomists we wanted to promptly address these concerns in collaboratively creating best practices to develop a better standard in kava,” says Chris Fields, VP Scientiﬁc Aﬀairs for AFS. “From the farm level, to processing and extraction, we have implemented a six-point plan for the commercialization and sustainability of our kava supply to the nutrition market. The plan encompasses aspects from all ﬁve elements outlined as potential areas of concern over the safety and use of kava.”
Additionally, in collaboration with the University of South Paciﬁc, Douglas Labs (Fiji), Alkemist Labs (USA) and Chromadex (USA), AFS developed a validated method for formulators to use in the determination of the major kavalactones while also determining the negative chalcones associated with use of plant stems, peeling and arterial parts of the plant.
By optimizing the beneﬁcial lactones and reducing or eliminating the negative ones, AFS has created a new safer extract, KAVOA™ kava extract, that formulation experts can conﬁdently use in products moving forward.
“We also acknowledge AFS’ commitment to a robust supply chain program that helps to ensure the sustainable harvest of the appropriate variety of kava for use in consumer products,” ABC’s Founder Mark Blumenthal added.
AFS, recently published a white paper on kava that details the return of safe kava. The paper goes over, in detail, the six-point plan and addresses prior criticisms of kava, refuting much of the poor quality of data used in many examples.
Why is Kava needed in the U.S. today?
The unfortunate reality is that Americans are overworked, overstimulated, and under rested. As more research supports the long-term eﬀects of this problem, consumers are seeking eﬀective and natural remedies.
“Taking a closer look at human physiology, the demand for individuals to decrease stress, anxiety, and restlessness, seems to make a whole lot of sense,” explains Brian Zapp, Director of Marketing for Applied Food Sciences. “Individuals spend their day searching for ways to increase energy by consuming caﬀeine, B-Vitamins, and other energy related compounds trying to get more done during the day. Combine that with the ongoing stimulation from technology at night and we are left hardwired, unable to unwind”
While it is easy to relate to this pattern, the statistics that support it are even harder to ignore:
The nation’s Center for Economic and Policy Research states that Americans get the least amount of vacation days in the world. While other countries require as much as 40 paid days oﬀ, the U.S. has zero prerequisites in this area (CEPR, 2016).
The FDA reports that Americans consume on average 300mg of caﬀeine per person per day (FDA - Caﬀeine Intake by the U.S. Population, 2012). That is equivalent to 3 cups of coﬀee or two 16oz energy drinks every day.
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute shows that a twohour exposure to tablets and mobile can cause melatonin suppression, which aﬀects sleep (LCR, 2012).
Therefore, it comes at no surprise that the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research states that around 70 million Americans are reporting to have sleep problems (NCSDR, 2016).
While it is seemingly easy in America to ﬁnd and consume stimulants, it is increasingly more diﬃcult to, in turn, “switch oﬀ” when the day is done. This inability to relax and recover from the day is likely one of the biggest contributors to the growth of the sleep market.
“Americans are hardwired with ongoing stimulation resulting in the inability to unwind or sleep.”
Existing research on kava suggests that certain kavalactones, particularly kavain and the dihydrokavain, contribute most signiﬁcantly to the anxiolytic, relaxation, and sleep beneﬁts of the root. AFS targets these lactones in the ﬁnished KAVOA™ kava extract; yielding a speciﬁc chemotype or ﬁngerprint that is optimum for eﬃcacy and safety in ﬁnished products.
To learn more about Applied Food Sciences and their eﬀorts with kava, see their Vendorbrief at SupplySide West titled “The Return of Safe Kava.” Friday, October 07, 2:00 - 2:25 PM at Booth WW111, or visit their website www.appliedfoods.com/kava
or call 855-885-2399.